Van Til on Systematic and Covenant Theology

“We have already indicated that the best apologetic defense will invariably be made by him who knows the system of truth of Scripture best. The fight between Christianity and non-Christianity is, in modern times, no piece-meal affair. It is the life-and-death struggle between two mutually opposed life-and-world views.”

“It is a God-given duty that we should take the content of Scripture and bring it together in a systematic whole. It is plain that we are required to know the revelation that God has given us. Yet we would not adequately know that revelation if we knew it only in its several parts without bring those parts into relation to each other. It is only as a part of the whole of the revelation of God to us that each part of that revelation appears as it is really meant to appear.”

“Once these standards or dogmas of the church have been accepted, it goes without saying that a theologian who writes a work on systematics will write it in accordance with the interpretation of those standards. To say this hampers his freedom is to see that he has not himself freely adopted these creeds as a member of the church. Moreover, to interpret in accordance with these standards does not mean that one ignores the Scriptures. It must be shown over and over again that the standards are based on the Scriptures. In addition to this, the systematic theologian has to go beyond the standards to see whether he can possibly find a more specific formulation of truths already spoken of in the standards, and whether he can find a formulation of truths of Scriptures not yet spoken of in the standards. In this way he may himself help in some small way the further implication of the church into the truth of Scripture. Creeds must be revised and supplemented from time to time. But it is not until systematic theology has progressed beyond the creeds that the creeds themselves can be revised.”

“In setting out a series of propositions about the revelation of God, as the church has done in its confessions, the Christian may rest assured that he has “the system of truth” while yet he may add to his knowledge of that system. All his knowledge is analogical of God. God is the original knower, and man is the derivative re-knower. Man knows in subordination to God; he knows as the covenant keeper. If he is not a covenant keeper, he will set the false ideal of knowing even as God knows, by complete coincidence with the contents of the mind of God, and end up by knowing that what he calls knowledge is no true knowledge at all, and that what he calls false submission to authority is the true knowledge of God and of man.”

“All men, even after the fall, know deep down in their hearts that they are creatures of God, that they should therefore obey, but that they have actually broken the law of God.”

All quotes taken from Introduction to Systematic Theology.

Do you have a systematic theology? Can your theology, systematic or not, accord with these statements? If not… what does that mean for your ability to consistently use the method developed on these principles, and continually referring to them at practically every level?


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The Shattered Stained Glass Window | Choosing Hats

[…] of God to us that each part of that revelation appears as it is really meant to appear.” (See this post)  It does no lasting good to argue only on the basis of epistemology.  We argue systematically, […]


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